Irish Film Institute (Dublín) / Instituto de cine irlandés (Dublín)
6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar Dublín
The Matrix goes down Mexico way in Sleep Dealer, an ambitious low-budget directing debut by Alex Rivera that combines some clever virtual-reality concepts with projections about the next frontier of globalisation.
Sick of life in the poor village where a private company controls the water supply, tech geek Memo Cruz (Luis Fernando Peña) is tinkering with his radio when it picks up a transmission it shouldn’t have. Barely affected by the subsequent tragedy, Memo heads to Tijuana, where he seeks to have metal nodes implanted in his skin so he can work in one of the high-tech factories. Rivera has some neat ideas about privacy in the virtual era and the sweatshops of tomorrow. The special effects get an A for effort, and the supersaturated colours of the high-definition photography lend the film a distinctive look. As with the best examples of the science fiction genre, Sleep Dealer uses its future world to offer a stark warning about today.